Energy drink facts, the most important of which is that “Knowledge is power”. Knowing the energy drink facts is essential to clear up the confusion and fear surrounding these heavily marketed and unfamiliar potions. What are they, really?
Separating the fact from the marketing hype is another thing which we’ll deal with in a minute.
Q: What are the most common ingredients in energy drinks and what do they do?
Caffeine is the most popular stimulant on Earth, used by 90 percent of Americans, for example. In moderation, it’s been found to improve alertness, memory, and athletic performance.
It must be noted that guarana is significantly different in its consequences than anhydrous caffeine. It gives a longer-lasting endurance, with no nervousness often caused by other forms of caffeine.
A: Sugar, in some form, is the other major ingredient in energy drinks. Sometimes artificial sweeteners are used to decrease the calorie content and a few of these, especially aspartame, present their own health problems.
Q: What are these minor components, such as Taurine, B vitamins, ginseng, milk thistle extract, other vitamins and herbs?
A: This, the energy drink facts are less than clear. On the other hand, it is not known what amounts of taurine must be present to counteract the free radicals generated from the energy growth catalyzed by the large quantities of Caffeine in these beverages. From my experience, in the better combinations, there does seem to be a noticeable improvement over a simple mixture of tea or coffee and sugar.
In any process of turning food into energy, B vitamins are used as co-factors. Vitamin B-12 is especially important and is deficient in many older adults. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, which can counteract and neutralize the free radicals produced in the energy metabolism stimulated with these drinks. The quantities of these vitamins and amino acids vary, but are well within safe levels typically. Bottom Line: These shouldn’t be a problem; they have a real function and no known dangers in voluminous research.
Ginseng has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as an overall modulator of hormonal activity to bring balance in the body. Milk thistle is a well-researched herb that’s used in cleansing the liver of toxins — this may serve a purpose when consuming alcoholic drinks mixed with energy drinks, as a hangover preventive. Ginkgo is thought to be a memory enhancer — this might be useful, or at least may be promoted as useful for students who research using these beverages.
A: The threat comes from three sources. One is the danger of poorly formulated energy drinks containing too much sugar or caffeine anhydrous, which cause both short-term and long-term unwanted consequences on health. The second, larger danger is that brought on by marketing these drinks to young people with advertising that subtly and sometimes not-so-subtly encourages abuse.
The high sugar content of most of these energy drinks is often overlooked as an open invitation to weight reduction and is a contributing element to diabetes, Type 2, as well as a long list of psychological disorders.
Finally, there’s the threat posed by mixing energy drinks with alcohol. In the hands of experienced mature adults, alcohol alone can be dangerous. In the hands of youths who have little knowledge or appreciation for the discomforts, not to mention the potentially lethal dangers of alcohol in combination with energy drinks, there can be trouble. Poor sleep quality and poor performance in school are only the tip of the iceberg when teenagers get heavily into this mix.
Energy drinks, like fire, are a tool which can be very helpful in skilled hands — or even a terrible danger when handled by those who don’t enjoy the discipline required to safely use this tool. As in the case of any product that is purchased in the market, caveat emptor is good advice for those who choose to use energy drinks (Let the buyer beware!)
A good understanding of the energy drink facts can help you decide which energy drink — if any — is perfect for you.